Full Suspension Vs. Hardtail Mountain Bikes

The topic of whether to use a full suspension or hardtail bike has long been a matter of debate. Both types have their set of advantages and disadvantages. This ThrillSpire article helps you choose...
ThrillSpire Staff
Basically, a full suspension bike is nothing but a bike with a suspension system incorporated in the design to protect the rider from the bumps and shocks of the terrain. On the other hand, hardtails do not incorporate a suspension system, and were commonly used before full suspension bikes were introduced in the market.
The comparison of the two should reveal important facts associated with regards to their differences. Depending on these features, one should make the appropriate choice of which to buy―a full suspension or hardtail bike.
List of Features
Full Suspension Hardtail
The power transfer in these bikes is less efficient. This is because they are heavier than hardtail ones. It makes riding difficult in comparison to hardtails. As these bikes do not possess the weight-increasing features of full-suspension bikes, the power transfer is much more efficient. Energy spent while riding is therefore, less. Climbing a slope, therefore, becomes easier.
These bikes do not offer quick handling response. A larger wheelbase is the main reason behind this problem. These bikes have quicker handling response in comparison to full suspension ones. The shorter wheelbase of these bikes is the determining factor for the faster handling response.
One of the benefits of using these bike is that navigating rocky terrain is easier. Impacts are absorbed and the traction transferred to the terrain is greater. The ride on a hardtail can be difficult and awkward due to the shocks received. Loss of traction makes it difficult to ride past rocky terrain with the same speed of smooth roads.
The maintenance cost of these bikes is greater than that of hardtails. Maintenance related expenses are lesser in comparison to full suspension bikes.
These bikes offer better control on rough/rocky terrain. However, on smooth surfaces, they lag behind hardtails in terms of speed. These are considered good for smooth terrain and can be ridden at speeds greater than full suspension bikes.
A full suspension bike is better for those with back problems. The ride is made comfortable due to shock absorbers. Hardtails are not suitable for people with back problems on mountain roads.
These are more suited for long distance tours. Hardtails cause the rider to feel jarred and are, therefore, not suitable for long journeys.
With improvement in technology, lighter full suspension bikes are introduced in the market. These bikes weigh less than 20 lbs. However, one should be ready to shell out more money for light weight full suspension bikes.